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Thursday Morning Brews: Varying Degrees of Success

Ohio State’s passing attack is in an interesting spot; meanwhile, Media Days has offered up plenty of headlines.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Notre Dame vs Ohio State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State’s Young Guns

In this year’s Ohio State preview, Bill Connelly talked about the Buckeyes’ efficiency vs. explosiveness at the wide receiver position, an interesting topic that I thought would be worth a few more words.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that Meyer loves to run the ball. It’s his bread and butter, and he’s going to rely heavily on Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel for most of the team’s non-quarterback runs. With Bri’onte Dunn’s dismissal, Samuel is vital here; he’s the starting H-Back, so he could theoretically be used more as a receiver, but I think he’ll end up being used somewhat traditionally as a tailback who can catch the ball out of the backfield.

In fact, both Weber and Samuel should see a lot of balls thrown their way to help prop up the passing game’s efficiency. Bill is bullish on the team’s passing efficiency, and that’s a mark in their favor there.

Another good efficiency target is Marcus Baugh, a tight end who hasn’t gotten a lot of media attention but should be very good. Ohio State tight ends rarely get a lot of tread, though; they’ve had great tight ends consistently, but Nick Vannett caught just 19 passes in each of the last two years (total yardage: 382), and Jeff Heuerman - a third-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015 - caught 17 passes in his final year in Columbus. So I don’t think Baugh will be a particularly noticeable contributor.

A final notch in the efficiency belt is Noah Brown, the much-lauded receiver who broke his leg during fall practice and missed all of 2015. Brown plays an efficiency game; he’s too big to be easily guarded, with super-quick feet and some raw speed as well. I suspect he’ll be the team’s best receiver this year, and he can give the team plenty of 8- and 10-yard gains to keep the chains moving. Quietly, Brown is one of the most important players on the team this year.

So, in short, I see Ohio State’s passing attack being run through Noah Brown, with the running backs and Marcus Baugh chipping in as much as they can. Corey Smith deserves a mention here as well; he’s a senior and a former blue-chip recruit who has 320 career yards at Ohio State. Will all of this be enough?

Perhaps, maybe it will. But after that list of players we discussed, Ohio State brings a lot of explosiveness and just as much youth to the table - enough youth to make you question how much efficiency they’ll really have to work with.

‘Consistency’ becomes a synonym for efficiency here. The team has young guys like Torrance Gibson and Austin Mack who can win their share of go routes, but the big question mark is whether they can be sure-handed enough, or multi-dimensional enough, to manufacture starter-level production and to do so reliably.

It’s hard to say how amazing this position will be in 2017 and beyond, as Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, and Torrance Gibson are all potential All-Americans. Looking at just 2016, though, can these talented young guys play like veterans in their first year on the field? Can they do the little things to consistently win their routes, things that take more than just raw athleticism? The team’s passing attack will likely depend on it.

Hitting the Links Is Waking Up

A.J. Dillon Emerging As Top Prospect

Seriously, do yourself a favor and watch this highlight of Dillon dismissing students from class. Dillon is now one of the top 100 players in the country according to 247Sports.

Who Might Replace Jim Delany?

It goes without saying this will be a really important change for the conference to get right. A lot of people might not like Delany, but he’s been at the forefront for a long time, and had a huge hand in shaping the conference into what it is today.

Michigan’s Five Biggest Recruiting Targets

I can see the Baron Browning hype train hasn’t quite left the station.

Officiating, After The Fact

This is an important topic, as Michigan fans will remember: bad calls by the refs had a noticeable impact on the season. It’s an issue that probably hasn’t been fixed, so strap in for more ‘fun times’ in 2016.

Full Media Days Recap | Awards

Good dancing - and good suit - by Jourdan Lewis. Also, here was an interesting quote from J.T. Barrett about Cardale starting for the first part of last year: "Cardale at the time was playing better than me. He deserved to start... I was thinking too much. It slowed me down."

Presser Bullets: Ohio State Media Days | Weber’s Rocky Path

Credit to Urban Meyer: he maps out his future rosters very well, and knows when and where to have guys ready. The Free Press takes a great look at how the team prepared Mike Weber for early success.

Here’s another interesting link: has a column about Torrance Gibson, the athlete who wanted to be a quarterback for Ohio State and was recruited for the position but was in some ways destined for a position change.

Disrespekt ‘Part Of Our Identity’ | MSU Starts Scholarship Fund

It may be blasphemous to pick MSU ahead of OSU this year, but I trust MSU’s defense, and I think OSU’s overall roster depth will become a talking point sometime around September 18th.

List of the Game’s Hottest Coordinators ($)

Tim Drevno was one of twelve coordinators to make the cut.

Coordinating for Jim Harbaugh has been a springboard to Power 5 head-coaching opportunities, with D.J. Durkin the latest to make the jump. Drevno is a longtime offensive line coach with success both in college and the NFL. He also had a solid first season as a coordinator last season. He could be hindered by working for a quarterback developer like Harbaugh and alongside one like Jedd Fisch, but if Michigan matches expectations this fall, schools could start calling.

The Battle For Chicago | Northwestern’s Motivation

I don’t think this rivalry will matter to casual fans this year, not with Illinois struggling and a probable step back from 10 wins for Northwestern. But it will be interesting to see if these two can start to shore up the blue-chip talent in the state, or if teams like Michigan, Notre Dame and OSU can keep reaching in and taking the players they want.

Big Ten’s Top Heisman Candidates

It’s mostly J.T. Barrett & The Somebodies. It doesn’t help the Big Ten that the best offensive talent is at running back.